OPERATIONS

Amazon teams up with U.S. Postal Service for Sunday deliveries

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Amazon is teaming up with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sunday, with the service starting this week in the Los Angeles and New York metro areas. The online giant plans to roll out the service to additional markets, including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Phoenix, in 2014.

Amazon Prime members, who receive unlimited, free two-day shipping, are eligible for the service.

“If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can order a backpack for your child on Friday and be packing it for them Sunday night,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s VP of worldwide operations and customer service. “We’re excited that now every day is an Amazon delivery day and we know our Prime members, who voraciously shop on Amazon, will love the additional convenience they will experience as part of this new service.”

“As online shopping continues to increase, the Postal Service is very happy to offer shippers like Amazon the option of having packages delivered on Sunday,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO. “With this new service, the Postal Service is now delivering packages seven days a week in select cities. Customers can expect the same reliable and valued service that the Postal Service currently provides.”

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Charming Charlie’s exec named VP chief merchant of Dressbarn

BY Staff Writer

Suffern, N.Y. — Ascena Retail Group announced that Judith Langley has joined dressbarn as executive VP and chief merchandising officer.

Langley brings to Dressbarn extensive experience as a senior merchant and in product development. Most recently, she was executive VP and chief merchandising officer with Charming Charlie’s, a jewelry and accessories chain.

Previously, she was senior VP of design and trend at Kohl’s, where she oversaw product direction for 15 brands.

“Judi’s track record as a successful merchant with design expertise will be a tremendous asset to Dressbarn,” said Jeff Gerstel, president of Dressbarn. “I am pleased to welcome Judi to Dressbarn’s team and look forward to the leadership, creativity, and vision she will bring to our brand’s transformation.”

Games, giveaways, book signings and personalized recommendations will be offered as part of “Discovery Friday,” event Barnes & Noble has planned for Nov. 22 to pre-empt the doorbuster madness that will occur the following week on Black Friday.

All of the retailer’s stores nationwide will participate in the Discovery Friday event which Barnes & Noble said was created to serve as the official launch of the holiday shopping season and help customers experience the thrill of discovering the perfect gifts for friends and family. On Discovery Friday, Barnes & Noble’s said its booksellers will be on the front lines to provide personalized recommendations at its nearly 700 stores, an experience that Amazon.com can’t rival.

“Barnes & Noble offers the ultimate holiday shopping experience for customers who enjoy the art of discovery, appreciate the human touch and recognize that the best recommendations don’t come from an algorithm,” said Mitchell Klipper, CEO of the Barnes & Noble Retail Group. “Discovery Friday shines a light on our 40,000 booksellers, undeniably our greatest asset, and also celebrates our customers by bringing the spirit of fun and discovery to their holiday shopping experience.”

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Report: Women still underrepresented on retail boards

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Women account for 18.4% of directors serving on the boards of the world’s largest retail and consumer products companies globally, according to the latest Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI) report on Women Board Directors of Top Retail and Consumer Products Companies Globally.

This industry percentage reflects a better record of appointing women to board directorships than the 15% women’s representation on the boards of Fortune Global 200 companies. In addition, over a third of companies surveyed have gone beyond tokenism and have three or more women on their boards. However, the numbers are not where they need to be given women’s aggregate market impact.

"There is no industry where women play a more dominant role as workers, producers and consumers than the retail and consumer products industry," says CWDI Chair Irene Natividad. "With women making 85% of buying decisions in the U.S. and 65% globally, many more companies now recognize women’s buying power and have increased their appointments of women to board seats, but there are still laggards who don’t see the business rationale."

The report includes 168 retail/consumer products companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenue from 26 different countries. Among the top 15 best performers with the highest percentage of women directors, U.S. companies dominate, with Avon Products ranking first worldwide with 60% of its Board being female. With at least a third of board seats held by women, other U.S. best performing retail/consumer goods companies include Procter & Gamble, Estee Lauder, Macy’s, Williams-Sonoma, TJX Inc., Hormel Foods, PVH Corporation, Campbell Soup, Coach Inc., Foot Locker, General Mills, and Office Depot.

The study found that the percentage of women executive officers in retail/consumer products companies does not equal the percentage of women board directors. Among the companies surveyed, only 12.6% of executive officer positions are held by women, 5.8% lower than the percentage of women board directors in this industry.

In order to increase the number of women in the pipeline for board seats, the report calls for more programs to advance women up the corporate ladder from middle management to C-suite positions.

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